Art that bloomed with the Feinbergs

Jun 27, 2013

Art that bloomed with the Feinbergs

As a simple matter of economic convenience, some of the best art collections in the world started out going against established taste. By avoiding what was already highly valued — and therefore expensive — collectors could build up impressive collections that could then help ...

Everyday goods: the Japanese art of convenience

Jun 27, 2013

Everyday goods: the Japanese art of convenience

“Mingei” translates as “folk art” and is connected to objects that are made or used by ordinary people on an everyday basis. Usually this evokes hand-crafted objects, such as ceramics, baskets, items of woodwork, etc. As such, the term is evocative of the era ...

Making sense of medieval avatars

Jun 13, 2013

Making sense of medieval avatars

The Western model of sexual equality — one that drives women to focus on careers but also contributes to lower birthrates — may not be an entirely unmixed blessing, but the roots of the West’s gender attitudes run deep and stem from some interesting ...

<em>Mono no aware:</em> subtleties of understanding

Jun 6, 2013

Mono no aware: subtleties of understanding

The essence of the "Mono no aware and Japanese Beauty" exhibition, currently at the Suntory Museum of Art, is the appreciation of things in the shadow of their future absence.

Art born from  the disingenuous

May 30, 2013

Art born from the disingenuous

The most radical force in art is not, as most people assume, genius, inspiration or sheer talent, it is instead a lack of technical ability. Combined with a strong desire to be an artist, this can prove to be a powerful driver of change ...

Sometimes it's hard for Leonardo to impress

May 23, 2013

Sometimes it's hard for Leonardo to impress

The reputation of Leonardo da Vinci is like an inverted pyramid — a massive, impressive structure that can draw a vast audience, but stands on an extremely narrow base. Although regarded as one of the “Big Three” artists of the Renaissance — along with ...

The humor of candid camera

May 23, 2013

The humor of candid camera

With the advent of the digital camera, mobile phones and social networking, the world is now drowning in photographic imagery. This raises the question: Can photography survive as an art form in a world where it is ubiquitous? The exhibition of work by Kayo ...

The disconcerting unity of Raphael

May 2, 2013

The disconcerting unity of Raphael

Harmony can sometimes have a disconcerting side. This is one insight to emerge from the Raphael exhibition at the National Museum of Western Art, the centerpiece of which is one of the artist’s acknowledged great works, the “Madonna del Granduca” (c. 1505). In his ...

Rubens' best work is collaborative

Apr 4, 2013

Rubens' best work is collaborative

The 17th-century Flemish baroque artist Peter Paul Rubens is a great historical painter, not because of the scenes from ancient Roman history that he sometimes painted, but because, when we encounter his works, we find ourselves trying to understand what kind of society could ...

Francis Bacon: The restlessness of human existence

Mar 28, 2013

Francis Bacon: The restlessness of human existence

In the 1989 Tim Burton film “Batman,” there is a famous scene where the Joker and his gang break into an art museum and vandalize masterpieces by the likes of Rembrandt, Degas, and Vermeer. But, just as one of his henchmen is about to ...